If you’re expecting Wii Sports, this isn’t it. 1-2 Switch isn’t even NintendoLand.
Instead, 1-2 Switch is an oddball party game, one of the few launch games for Nintendo Switch. It wants to be the game you play with friends, a classic fun social experience. 28 mini-games explore different ways of holding and using the versatile Joy-Con controllers. Two people play, staring at each other. Each holding a controller.
And from there, it gets stranger.
You’ve probably seen 1-2 Switch in Nintendo Switch ads, or on Twitter, or YouTube. It’s the “crazy Switch game.” It’s clearly engineered to be a conversation-starter, a party game.
Does it work?
I tried 1-2 Switch at a Nintendo preview event, briefly milking a cow. (Yes, really.) But this time, we got the whole office involved. Playing the full game with co-workers I see every day, it was a different vibe. 1-2 Switch de-emphasizes staring at the screen at all. Most games involve sound effects, vibration feedback via the Joy-Con controllers’ “HD Rumble,” and lots of imagination.
I want to applaud 1-2 Switch for encouraging social interaction, for being daring with its insistence on away-from-the-screen gaming in its little mini games. But a lot of 1-2 Switch feels too shallow to be anything more than a little amusement. And some of it feels like ideas the Wii already hammered in 10 years ago.
“Milk” is the infamous one. 1-2 Switch’s instructions request eye contact with your competitor. Suddenly, you’re staring eye-to-eye with someone while pretend milking an udder for a while. If you ever wanted to feel like you were part of a Japanese game show, this is your chance.
I love weird. Some of my favorite Nintendo games have been the weirdest ones. Warioware, Inc is a brilliant collection of insane micro-games. Rhythm Heaven throws players into quick-fire music games set to insane themes. 1-2 Switch feels like a cousin of those games. But I wish there was more: 28 mini-games feels a little light. There’s also no one-player mode. And the game’s heavy-motion play means 1-2 Switch can’t be used while, saying, riding a bus (or, can it?).